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Publicly Available Published by De Gruyter May 31, 2016

The Roles of the Past President

  • Mark Cesa

    Photo by Peter Cutts

    Mark Cesa <> is past president of IUPAC since January 2016. Previously he served as president (2014-2015), vice president (2012-2013), and on the Committee on Chemistry and Industry as secretary (2000–2003), vice chair (2004–2005), and chair (2006–2009).

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From the journal Chemistry International


The Past President of IUPAC continues to represent IUPAC after serving as President of the Union by dealing with scientists and organizations around the world, speaking at conferences, contributing to new initiatives as a member of multidisciplinary task-driven committees of Associated Organizations, and in day-to-day interactions with colleagues, students, and business partners. An important continuing role for the Past President is to serve as the chair of several committees of the IUPAC Bureau.

The Bureau

The IUPAC Bureau is a statutory body of IUPAC. Its roles are to ensure observance of the Statutes and Bylaws, to prepare the agenda for the biennial meeting of Council and make provision for elections, to implement the decisions of the Council and execute the program of the Union, to ensure that biennial Congresses of Pure and Applied Chemistry are held, to take decisions on scientific meetings proposed by the Divisions and Standing Committees, and in general to oversee the proper conduct of the business of the Union. Its members include the Officers (President, Vice-President, Secretary General, Treasurer, and Past President), ten Elected Members chosen by the IUPAC Council, and the Presidents of the Divisions and the Chairs of Standing Committees. The Bureau meets formally once a year, usually at a site organized by one of our National Adhering Organizations. In April 2016, the Bureau met in Montréal, Québec, Canada, thanks to the Canadian NAO, the Canadian National Committee for IUPAC, under the National Research Council of Canada.

To carry out its functions, the Bureau receives reports on the activities of the Divisions, Standing Committees, and the Secretariat, on the financial status of the Union, on the status of our publications Pure and Applied Chemistry and Chemistry International, and on the web site. The Bureau also deliberates and makes recommendations on emerging issues of interest to the Union as a whole. Current examples include the implementation of the new IUPAC Strategic Plan, the discovery and naming of new elements, and the status of members of the Union, including applications from prospective new members.

Committees of the Bureau

Much of the most important work of the Bureau is carried out by the Committees of the Bureau. These committees, composed of Bureau members, have specific tasks that require decisions and actions. Each Committee has specific terms of reference and terms of office, and each member of the Bureau serves on at least one committee. The work of two of the committees of the Bureau focuses on the project system, and these committees are probably the most familiar to IUPAC members, volunteers, and affiliates.

Project Committee

In the IUPAC project system, projects which relate to the goals of individual Divisions or Standing Committees are funded from budgets allocated to them. For projects that span Divisions or would call on funds beyond the capabilities of individual Divisions, the Project Committee acts to review and make decisions on them. Five Elected Members of the Bureau serve on the Project Committee, and the Chair, currently Professor Douglas Templeton, is not a member of any other IUPAC body. The Committee reviews project proposals; solicits comments on these proposals from Divisions, Standing Committees, and external reviewers; examines proposed project budgets; and decides whether to fund projects based on their review.

Evaluation Committee

The Evaluation Committee, chaired by Professor Christopher Brett, has the responsibility of evaluating the effectiveness of the IUPAC project portfolio in meeting the strategic objectives of the Union. It monitors the nature and breadth of the project portfolio, examines project completion reports from chairs of project task groups, and reports to the Bureau on its findings and recommendations.

Committees chaired by the Past President

The following four Bureau committees are currently chaired by the Past President, and each committee has a unique and valuable function that addresses aspects of the IUPAC strategic plan.

The IUPAC-Solvay Award Committee is a committee staffed by members of the Bureau along with at least one representative from the funding company, Solvay. Each year, it selects up to five young scientists to receive awards for the most outstanding Ph. D. theses in the general area of the chemical sciences. The members of this Committee are currently working with the Secretariat to evaluate applications for awards to be made in 2016.

The important functions of the Membership Relations Committee are expanding in the 2016-2017 biennium to include not only the recruitment of new National Adhering Organizations to IUPAC but also to retain and support its current members. The committee is developing a value proposition to explain why organizations and individuals in countries everywhere around the world should become members. (see also p. 8 for further details on the role of this committee).

The Committee on Chemistry Research Funding was established several years ago. It catalyzes the process of developing collaborations between scientific funding agencies from more than two countries and facilitates the international exchange of scientists. It has led calls for funding with the aim of encouraging and supporting collaborative international research in chemistry. In this biennium the committee will explore options for a third funding call and will seek to collaborate with existing multinational funding initiatives.

The IUPAC Committee for the International Council for Science, ICSU, is a newly formed committee of the Bureau. Its aims are to manage, in collaboration with the Secretariat, IUPAC’s membership in ICSU. In this biennium the committee will evaluate the effectiveness of IUPAC membership in ICSU with respect to maximizing the strategic value to IUPAC of membership in this organization, which is composed of national authorities and more than thirty international scientific unions. It will also assist the Secretariat in response to requests form ICSU for information, nominations for committees and officers, and other matters, and it will coordinate applications from IUPAC volunteers for future ICSU projects.

Implementation of the Strategic Plan

As Past President I will be working with the entire Bureau on the implementation of IUPAC’s new Strategic Plan. The goal is to put processes and activities in place to maximize the effectiveness of the Union in achieving its mission as “the global organization that provides objective scientific expertise and develops the essential tools for the application and communication of chemical knowledge for the benefit of humankind and the world, by fostering sustainable development, providing a common language for chemistry, and advocating the free exchange of scientific information.” An active discussion was planned at the recent Montréal meeting, to outline implementation plans and put these plans into practice. (for a overview of IUPAC’s New Strategic Pan, see Chem Int Jan-Feb 2016, pp. 4-5)

I am looking forward to this biennium of service to IUPAC as we move toward our centenary in 2019, and I am excited about the future of the Union as an indispensable worldwide resource for chemistry. I am eager to work with all of our volunteers and members and to hear your suggestions and comments.

About the author

Mark Cesa
 Photo by Peter Cutts

Photo by Peter Cutts

Mark Cesa <> is past president of IUPAC since January 2016. Previously he served as president (2014-2015), vice president (2012-2013), and on the Committee on Chemistry and Industry as secretary (2000–2003), vice chair (2004–2005), and chair (2006–2009).

Published Online: 2016-5-31
Published in Print: 2016-5-1

©2016 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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